DE Unit 1
Circuit Theory
Circuit Theory Introduction
Welcome to Unit 1

The study of digital electronics is all about electric circuits, and how signals of on/off (1/0) can be turned into complex logic.  Many devices around us run on digital electronics – the classroom clock, the fire alarm, many digital clocks, microwaves, etc. When digital engineers tackle problems in digital electronics, they need to focus on the following process:

  • Define the Problem
  • Calculate and Design a Solution
  • Simulate the Solution
  • Breadboard the Solution
  • Test & Evaluate
  • Communicate Results

Not surprisingly, the task of digital engineers follows a path very similar to the engineering design process we’re used to.  The biggest difference is that the digital electronic process requires more mathematics and simulation. In this first unit we’ll get an introduction to the process by doing three big things:

  1. STEP 1: Learn the basics of simple circuits and practice the calculations that go along with digital electronics
  2. STEP 2: Get an introduction to our computer simulation and the practice of breadboarding circuits
  3. STEP 3: Build a small digital project by following a kit to solder a working random number generator as “digital dice”

When you’re done, you will have seen the whole digital electronics process and built a small project.  Don’t worry, the questions about the little details will be answered throughout our year’s class!

The beginning, our class starts with the very basics of circuit design.  In this part of the unit, you’ll spend a day building some simple circuits with lights and a breadboard by following some clear instructions.  After that, you’ll get to investigate the kinds of components we’ll work with, and then do some simple calculations for resistance, voltage, and current.  These ideas will start very simple, but as the year progresses they’ll be an essential part of the work we do!


 Watch the video on Basic Circuits and take a full page of careful notes.

 Build the 2 basic circuits and answer the short reflection questions in your notebook

 Watch the video on Analog Components and add to your previous page of notes.  Be sure to look through the Analog Component Reference!

 Watch the video on Hand Calculations and make sure to write down good notes about Ohm’s Law, and Total Resistance in parallel and series circuits

 Complete the Electronics Calculations Assignment

 Have Mr. Benshoof approve your notes and completed Assignment

Basic Circuits

Analog Components

Hand Calculations

Part 2: Simulate & Breadboard

Multisim Reference

Digital engineers need to be fluent in the use of mathematics for hand calculations, simulation with computer software like Multisim, as well as breadboarding circuits.  By being good at all three of those tasks, engineers can make systems more efficient or create systems that do brand new things. In this part of the unit you’ll get to focus on two key skills: simulation and breadboarding!


 Watch the presentation on getting started in Multisim, and take a page of good notes!

 Complete both practice circuits and measurements in Multisim from the Practice Circuits Assignment, print both of your circuits and tape them into your notebook, adding additional notes around them

 Watch the presentation on Breadboarding Basics a well as the Breadboarding Walkthrough and take a page of good notes

 Build both circuits from the same Practice Circuits Assignment.

  Take the Unit 1 Quiz: Circuit Theory!

 Have Mr. Benshoof check-off each simulation and breadboarded circuit as they are completed

Getting Started in Multisim

Breadboarding Basics

Breadboarding Walkthrough

Part 3: Build Something

Digital Dice Materials List

The last part of our introduction focuses on the assembly of a digital project.  Digital Electronics engineers work hard to calculate, simulate, design, and eventually build circuits of all kinds.  In this part of the unit you’ll get to do the building part as you organize, assemble, and solder a working electronic circuit.  For now we’ll just be following the instructions printed on a circuit board, but as we keep working the way that this system functions will be explained.


 Watch the video on building your Digital Dice

 Collect all the needed components by following the materials guide, and find where they each belong on the circuit board

 Assemble and build your Digital Dice!  Be sure to watch the How To Solder video before soldering

 Sketch your completed Digital Dice board in your engineering notebook; label as many components as you can

 Have Mr. Benshoof confirm your working Digital Dice & sketch

Digital Dice Overview

Digital Dice Troubleshooting

Final AIC Submission